Lyft, Uber Will Cover Legal Fees For Drivers Sued Under Texas Abortion Law
Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Lyft and Uber join many people around the country who are flabbergasted and outraged at Texas’ newest abortion law, which makes it illegal for women to seek an end to their pregnancy after six weeks. Following a wave of other companies that have also declared they would provide aid to women seeking abortions in the state, Lyft CEO Logan Green said that his company would create a fund to cover 100 percent of the legal fees drivers may face if sued under the law.

The Supreme Court upheld this law, which went into effect on September 1 and bans abortions after medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and often before women even know they’re with child. This implemented law (Senate Bill 8) also permits civilians to file civil suits and collect damages against anyone who is considered to be aiding an abortion, which could include those who transport women to clinics.

In a statement, Lyft described the law as “incompatible with people’s basic rights to privacy, our community guidelines, the spirit of rideshare, and our values as a company.”

“We want to be clear: Drivers are never responsible for monitoring where their riders go or why. Imagine being a driver and not knowing if you are breaking the law by giving someone a ride,” the statement said. “Similarly, riders never have to justify, or even share, where they are going and why. Imagine being a pregnant woman trying to get to a healthcare appointment and not knowing if your driver will cancel on you for fear of breaking a law.”

Green also railed against the Texas abortion law on Twitter, saying it “threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go—especially women exercising their right to choose.”

“This is an attack on women’s access to healthcare and on their right to choose,” Green tweeted, adding that Lyft will also be donating $1 million to Planned Parenthood “to ensure that transportation is never a barrier to healthcare access.”

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi promised to join Lyft’s efforts with a similar policy for its drivers.

“Drivers shouldn’t be put at risk for getting people where they want to go. Team Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way,” Khosrowshahi tweeted in response to Green’s tweet.

Including rideshare companies, practical support organizations that provide women in need with money, transportation, lodging, recovery, and child care, could also face civil suits under the new law as well as doctors, nurses, domestic violence counselors, and even friends, parents, spouses and clergy members who drive a woman to a clinic or even just provide counseling about whether or not to have the procedure.

The controversial Texas law gained an ally in the Supreme Court after a majority of its justices denied an emergency appeal from abortion providers earlier this month. It is considered the biggest affront to the constitutional right to an abortion in decades and, in addition to the aforementioned, does not make exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

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